It was one of those experiences that I wanted to forget and is now over 30 years in the past. Mike, the youth leader had an opportunity to preach at a large city church and asked if I would go with him and share my testimony. Looking back I suppose I was one of those know it all teenagers and I thought I could do it “off the cuff”. I was wrong! It was a mess, a terrible, horrible failure after which I decided never to attempt public speaking again. I thought that this man, whom I deeply respected, who trusted me, would wipe me as well, but he didn’t! He simply encouraged me to prepare better next time.
Recently, I met up with him again, and as we talked he mentioned the name of that church. After almost 40 years I still cringed! Yet, it was his faith in me that had made all the difference and it was great to have the opportunity of telling him that it was his word of encouragment not to give up on public speaking that resulted in me ending up as a preacher and chaplain.
The fact is you never know the effect of your words. Mike could have chosen to wipe me off the program, yet he took a risk and believed in me even though I did not deserve it! You never know when just a few words of encouragement and another opportunity might change a person’s life. How you respond to their failure will have an effect! Will you be prepared to forgive them and give them another chance? Mike did that for me, what’s stopping you? This week I read poem, which goes like this:
“Forgiveness is like the violet
Sending forth it’s pure fragrance
On the heel of the boot
Of the one who crushed it.”
Chaplain Ian S Whitley